Keith Olbermann discusses his Current TV departure with David Letterman
ESPN, MSNBC veteran explains why his latest home didn't work out
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In an interview Tuesday with David Letterman for CBS' "Late Show," Olbermann compared himself to an expensive chandelier that ended up without a good home because of problems at Current — and his failure to see them.
"It's my fault that it didn't succeed in the sense that I didn't think the whole thing through. I didn't say, 'You know, if you buy a $10 million chandelier, you should have a house to put it in,'" Olbermann said, according to a CBS transcript.
The studio for his show, "Countdown," was inadequate, Olbermann said, and he lost access to a car service because of an unpaid bill. He stopped short of directing strong criticism at former Vice President Al Gore, Current TV's co-founder.
"He meant well. It didn't go well," Olbermann said. "He just wasn't that involved in it and it was kind of difficult to get to him on these things."
He quickly realized he'd made a mistake joining Current, Olbermann said, adding he stayed out of loyalty to viewers and his staff.
Last Friday, Current TV announced it was immediately replacing Olbermann's show with a new program hosted by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. In a statement, Gore and co-founder Joel Hyatt said their relationship with Olbermann no longer reflected respect and other values.
Olbermann fired back online, saying the claims would be proven untrue in legal action he intended to pursue.
The at-times volatile host came to Current last June after a stormy eight-year stint at MSNBC, his second at that network, and abrupt departure in January 2011.
He reportedly got a five-year, $50-million contract from Current, part of its effort to transform the network's prime-time slate into progressive talk.
In the interview airing Tuesday, Letterman praised Olbermann as a "stand-up guy who's ready for a good scrape and will take the high road ... so for you to announce that the whole thing was your fault just by agreeing to go there, you're taking the blame for that?"
"You got your money," Letterman added.
"Well, up to last Thursday I got my money," Olbermann said. "The nice judge will decide whether or not I get more of my money."
"But, quite seriously," he added, "in that situation, what you're thinking is, 'Oh, Lord, this is probably going to hit the water at some point,' but what do you do?"
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